A lot of people can tell you that a great vacation can easily turn into a nightmare if you get caught with your guard down and have no idea how to react in certain situations. It still amazes me when I see people going on vacation without doing much fore-thought and preparation, especially since there are so many things that can go wrong when traveling. Make no mistake, what you see in movies could potentially (though remotely) happen to you. Whether you are preparing for a luxury cruise or economy travel, preparation has the same value. Therefore, take the necessary and prudent steps to make sure you are prepared to handle different incidental mishaps. To help you begin this process, here is a list with some of the most important and common things that you need to keep in mind when traveling or going on vacation:
1. If you will be driving to your destination, make sure your car is up for it. Check your oil level, the air pressure in your tires and other essential fluid levels. Always have additional provisions, blankets and a flashlight in your car to use in case of an emergency.
2. If you are traveling by car and have your kids on board as well, make sure that they are safely strapped to their seats at all times. It has been proven that in case of an accident, children that don’t use their seat belts are more likely to get hurt when compared to adults.
3. One of the top causes for car crashes all over the world is driving while tired and dozing off or getting distracted. Texting while driving is rapidly becoming a significant cause of car accidents and deaths so don’t text and drive. At high speeds, all it takes is a second of carelessness to lose control of your vehicle or cause an accident. If you are tired, just take a break and don’t risk your life and the lives of your passengers. Alternating the driving with another responsible adult is also a great measure.
4. Refrain yourself from texting or making phone calls while driving. Experts have proven that a driver writing text messages has a highly increased response time compared to a driver that is focused on the road at all times. Texting while driving is simply not an intelligent thing to do. Also, dialing on your cell phone while driving can cause additional delays in your reaction time so it is best to pull off to dial your cell phone.
5. It’s a known fact that most plane crashes happen at takeoff or landing so if you will be flying, try to book a non-stop flight because they’re statistically safer. It may cost more, but if you can afford it, the tradeoff may reduce additional risk or anxiety.
6. If you are pregnant and you want to travel by plane, you should always contact the airline first and ask them about their policy on flying while pregnant. Policies can vary by airline and country and some airlines have more strict rules in place.
7. If you are going on vacation alone it is best to do it through a traveling agency as they offer you the opportunity to go with a group of other tourists. This is clearly a much safer alternative than simply going alone and can also make your trip more affordable while gaining some additional site-seeing options. Also, be sure to research and review different reviews and methods of vacation packaging. You can research timeshare reviews, different hotel reviews and city reviews depending on where you are going. The more specific your search, the more accurate the results.
8. Plan ahead. Make a list with all the necessary things and when a certain item pops into your mind, add it to the list because you might end up forgetting about it if you don’t. Several days before the trip, go through the list again and check if you have all the items.
9. Make copies of all your important documents and medical information for yourself and for others that are coming with you. This way, if you or others fall victim to identity theft you will still have all the papers you need with you. Additionally, medical information such as allergies or conditions is necessary for proper medical treatment in case of an unforeseen emergency.
10. Ask a close friend or relative to look after your home while away or at least check it from time to time. Keeping an eye on your home will give you added protection and peace of mind.
11. Remember to unplug all your appliances and unnecessary electronics before you go and leave your furnace set to fifty-five degrees for optimum temperature in the cold season. If your home plumbing requires a different temperature to keep the pipes safe from freezing, then make adjustments accordingly.
12. Don’t carry a lot of cash on you and use your credit card as much as possible. This way, you won’t draw any unwanted attention to yourself and the chances of being the victim of robbery decrease significantly. Also, credit cards can be blocked swiftly with just a phone call, so be sure to have the credit card phone numbers available on a sheet of paper.
13. If you or anyone else needs medication, make sure you have enough of it packed. The last thing you want to do on vacation is to run around filling prescriptions and having to cope with delays because of this. Also, having some additional medications is a good idea in the event of a delayed return trip.
If you follow these guidelines and add some additional safety ideas particular to your situation, you should have no problem enjoying your vacation and staying out of the risk of trouble. Still, if I could give you only one traveling advice it would be to learn from the mistakes of other, because that’s one of the best ways to avoid doing them yourself. There’s an old Boy Scout motto that simply says “be prepared”, and when traveling to a new, unfamiliar territory preparation can be one of your best “insurance” policies.